Saturday, 21 January 2017


Yesterday was Ellie's 2nd birthday. This is me fiddling about ... a nod to Andy Warhol.

Sunday, 15 January 2017


Ellie is just coming up for 2 years old now... so it is "The Terrible Twos' time.  She is very independent and full of mischief.

I reckon we have the making of an engineer here.  I was working in the kitchen. She likes to play about and usually is busy 'role playing' i.e. sweeping up, stuffing the washing machine etc.  I am in the habit of giving the kids a saucepan and wooden spoon so they can 'stir' the pan while I am working at the counter.  Not Ellie; she simply turns the saucepan over and uses it as a ladder to get to the shelf!

And again... not for her is my Tupperware bowl of 40 years ago.  She found it had a better use as a stool to get up to the kitchen sink!

She and Alastair were enjoying some hot chocolate ... with Rabbit being fed some of Ellie's mini-marshmallows.

Friday, 13 January 2017


It's been a few years since I have seen these lovely apples... Macs from Washington State, USA. I found them in the butcher's shop at Bearsden Cross.

These are so much a part of my childhood.  We had an orchard (13 acres, I think) and these apples were in my lunch box every day of the year!  You never see them in Britain ... there are many other fine species, e.g. Cox but they are not a patch of these rosy red, flavoursome apples.

People of my age (war babies) recall getting boxes of apples which were shipped to the UK from Canada and the States.  This is what they were - Macs!

I got a Marks and Spencer voucher from Alastair and Dawn.  "Buy yourself something with a label on it." which, of course, means buy some wine which has an interesting label on the bottle. Here they are in the trolley. I will report on them once they have been tested.

And finally, Mairi gave me a tea cosy for Christmas.  My other one disintegrated.  It's old fashioned, I know, but I really like to have one to put over a pot of tea.  A folded over tea towel just isn't the same.

Friday, 6 January 2017


I was in London for a quick day trip this week.  The choice of travel was by air rather than by train as the reason for the visit was a funeral which was only a short drive from Gatwick airport. The weather was clear and fair and flying EasyJet, I have to say, was easy. The whole trip was smooth and pleasant.

Our flight home was on a clear, starry night.  It was great fun to look out of the window and see the lights of London - Birmingham - Manchester as we passed overhead. It was 1 1/2 hours Gatwick to Glasgow, then a 25 minute drive home as I had parked the car at the airport (very expensive!).

The joy of flying reminds me of the time I flew back from Canada to Glasgow some years ago. I was coming out of Toronto this particular time. About an hour out the stewardess announced that there was a wonderful display of Northern Lights that evening.  If anyone wanted to see them, they could put their hand up and be selected to view from the cockpit. Can you imagine that happening nowadays?!

I put my hand up. Some hours later I got a tap on the shoulder and was beckoned forward.  I was shown into the cockpit where it was very dark.  I became aware of the backs of two men and was told to kneel down on the ledge that was between the two and look out the window.

There was a glorious display of white aurora reaching to the zenith all along the port side of the cockpit window.  Absolutely thrilling!

 After about 5 minutes I was escorted out again.

I returned to my seat and replaced my Air Canada headphones ... and this is what was playing... the Hallejulah chorus from The Messiah.

This is my copy of a 1943 edition. I was unable to attend a performance this New Year but there is plenty from which to choose on YouTube.  (I am a great fan of YouTube!)

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Thanks to Jane in Canada for these little sayings:

Once all villagers decided to pray for rain.

On the day of prayer all the people gathered,

but only one boy came with an umbrella.

That's FAITH.


When you throw babies in the air,

they laugh because they know you will catch them.

That's TRUST.


Every night we go to bed

without any assurance of being alive the next morning,

but still we set the alarms to wake up.

That's HOPE.


We plan big things for tomorrow

in spite of zero knowledge of the future.



We see the world suffering,

but still we get married and have children.

That's LOVE.


On an old man's shirt was written a sentence

'I am not 80 years old;

I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.'



Saturday, 31 December 2016


As the year comes to an end all of life 's events are being played out.

It is Ishbel's birthday! December 31st! She arrived 10 years ago when we were having our New Year's Eve dinner with our Carseview Drive nieighbours - Peter, Lesley and Sandy, Haig and Adam. Ishie has the distinction of being the first of four children to Mairi and John!

Our lovely 91 year old neighbour, Jack, died last night. He died of pneumonia which in my day was called "the old man's friend" (for carrying off the living to a better place). That is his greenhouse and my December dead roses. His lovely wife cared for him until just a few days before he died. She's a real pal of mine; we lean on each other a lot.

Time to bring out my black hat which I bought in Salmon Arm at the ladieswear shop next to CIBC.  In the bottom left corner of the photo is the artwork for our Christmas card, done again by Peter.  I am only half way through my Christmas letters.  They will all get written in fullness of time (as everyone knows)!

That is last year's Christmas card which functions as a tent. The figures are felt pens from IKEA.  They change arrangement every time they visit!

So we move to the midnight hour and the bells. Iain and I will be joining Mairi, John and the family for a birthday drink for Ishie before returning home to have a few of the neighbours in when we will be raising a glass to the memory of Jack.

Alastair, Dawn and Indy are having a winter holiday in Banff.  We usually have a Skype call every Saturday from them but this probably will have to be deferred today!  They are all well and enjoying their move to New Jersey where Alastair is now in a new job working for Jon Stewart, formerly of The Daily Show.  His input is animation for a new project being undertaken. Basically, he has moved from the film industry to the television industry, i.e. west coast of USA to the east coast. (He says he enjoys smelling the Atlantic Ocean again!)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016


When visiting a gentleman recently we were intrigued to hear how his nephew is employed aboard this rather fine yacht:

This is Octopus, a luxury yacht owned by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. This 414 ft superyacht is manned by a 57-strong crew.  It is equipped with a submarine and Remotely Operated Vehicle, for a variety of rescue and research operations... a great life for a young man!
[Photo by Ship Dreams]

Today I passed several marinas with lots of masts showing that there are yachts a plenty on the Clyde.  

I am happy to think that all their owners get pleasure from their summer sailing and winter maintenance activities.

However, for me, happiness is the sight of a CalMac ferry especially if it is already in at the slipway ... as was the case today as I headed home from an afternoon concert at Millport.

The lights of the ferry lit up the darkness as the bus unloaded everyone to get the 3:50 pm ferry back to Largs.  I felt I had been away for the weekend instead of just an hour's car ride journey (to catch the ferry) down the Clyde from Glasgow.